Day: November 20, 2013

The Photo Gallery: Nature

Elephant at Santa Barbara Zoo

I don’t enjoy seeing elephants in small enclosures. I’m thankful that the majority of zoos across the world are no longer breeding elephants. The ones that remain in zoos, are hopefully the last. They belong in the wild, or in large landscapes of protected land. They belong with their kin.

When I do come across one of the remaining generation of elephants in zoos I feel a certain bitter sweetness. I feel blessed to see one. I feel in awe of their grace, strength and dexterity. I watch them, without wanting to stare, through downcast eyes and with a tinge of sadness.

The elephant in this photograph is one of two at Santa Barbara Zoo in California. I found myself watching with quiet reverence. My children, running around beside me, weren’t in the mood for listening to my speech of awe and wonder. I stood, motionless, apart from moving to take a photograph. The elephant stopped to look at me when the shutter of my camera blinked to capture the image I sought. I felt guilty for intruding on the moment, trespassing on the little space that was the elephant’s home. If I could have spoken ‘elephant’ I would have asked permission before taking the photograph. Instead I bowed my head in respect, hoping the elephant could read my thoughts.

Nature is wonderful, but I’d rather capture it in a natural setting. I hope these beautiful, intelligent animals of grace and strength can live a more peaceful life in the future, free to roam without unnatural threats from certain people who do them harm.

I am a great supporter in WWF and TRAFFIC and the work they do in the war against wildlife crime.

 

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

He understands. He loves her. He will stand by her. She loves him.

So many people don’t understand.
They make her feel weak for depending on medication.
It’s not just the medication though – it takes much more than that.
She has a family who understands, who appreciates her, as she is.
She was born with strong sensitivities.
Life, in her youth, was always a see-saw.
Little things would throw her off balance –
a busy scene, crowds, too much noise.
She’d find herself feeling dizzy, tearful, out of control,
needing to retreat, into her shell.
Growing up wasn’t easy, but she had a family who cared.
Even if they didn’t always understand – she knew they wanted to –
That was enough.

The man she’s now married to has known her since then.
He’s loved her through all the see-saws of emotion.
They met when she was just eighteen.
She was a mess, first year at University.
She was escaping, retreating, in a pool of alcohol.
She didn’t realise then, how much she was ‘hiding’,
She was numbing herself to reality.
He was her friend, her constant.
He never took advantage of her precarious state –
but sought out the woman that was underneath.

He waited, patiently, avoiding intoxicated advances,
maintaining the friendship and courting with refrain.
He listened, with a genuine ear, and made her smile –
the best medicine of all.
She spent most of her twenties seeking to find,
the person who was hidden beneath the veneer.
A person that cared, too much at times,
about the world around her and the wrongs she saw.

A fixer, a perfectionist, a troubled soul,
seeking a better way, but confused with reality.
Avoiding conflict and troubled situations,
looking for a path of peace in a twisted world.

Then motherhood came.
She loved living in the moment, seeing the world anew.
Her children, she found, were her biggest teachers.
No time for vanity, or desperate analysis,
only time to ‘be’, in the moment, in a mist of sleep deprived fog.
Moments of clarity, moments of light.
Realisation of when things were not right.
Wishing to be the person she envisaged,
a mother who could lead by example and set the path right.

She sought out help, and help she found.
The light went back on and her senses were lit anew.
She could take the world, in all its shades.
The beauty she would embrace, with awe,
the pain she could take – without desperation and collapse.
She found a balance, without extremes.
Feel, she still could, but without distress.
Beauty and beast, together she could take.
Her path she could walk, with patience and grace.

At times she’d feel so fine she’d stop taking the ‘help’,
she’d feel fine, at first, for a week…
and then, the old horrors would return.
She’d feel overwhelmed with tears and anxiety –
when she needed to be her strongest.
She needed to lead by example, stay calm in a crisis,
her children needed her, she could never surrender.

Now here she is, still seeking answers,
but gaining more wisdom as the years pass by.
Thankful for him, loving her through it all,
understanding her, growing with her, open heart, open mind x